Happy 330 Posts (Open Thread)

Partying Mario Style
Partying Mario Style

I completely forgot to mark the 200th and 300th posts, but I just finished post #330, so let’s celebrate!

This is an Open Thread, so please say hello. Feel free to chat, ask questions, or let me know any topics you’d be interested in for future posts.

Alternatively, tell us your favorite book(s).

I don’t normally do links lists, but since this is a special occasion, I’m going to recommend some articles:

The Extinction of the Australian Pygmies, by Keith Windschuttle and Tim Gillin. Fascinating.

On a probably not-related but convergently-evolved note, we have Whole-genome sequence analyses of Western Central African Pygmy hunter-gatherers reveal a complex demographic history and identify candidate genes under positive natural selection, or you can read the always interesting commentary by West Hunter. And if that’s not enough Pygmies for you, there’s always Model-based analyses of whole-genome data reveal a complex evolutionary history involving archaic introgression in Central African Pygmies.



In the beautiful things file, we have A New Thermodynamics Theory of the Origin of Life. If you read the comments, you’ll see that it’s not really “new” and that other people have been working on it for a while, but the article is still a nice explanation of the concept.

Some interesting food for thought from Dienekes: Are living Africans nested within Eurasian genetic variation (?) and a response by Razib Khan, Why I still Lean Toward a Sub-Saharan Origin for Modern Humanity.


51TxcmouEEL._SX350_BO1,204,203,200_ETA: And finally, I just discovered Still a Pygmy, by Isaac Bacirongo and Michael Nest. From the blurb:

How did a Pygmy from Congo end up living in Sydney, Australia? Growing up as a hunter-gatherer in the forests of Congo, where Pygmies were considered inferior to all other Africans and fit only for slave labor and witchcraft rituals*, Isaac Bacirongo never dreamed he would end up living in Australia. He also never imagined that he would get a high school education, fall in love with a “town girl,” start a prosperous business, and even own his own car—unheard of for a Pygmy. … When the tensions of Rwanda’s civil war spilled over into Congo, Isaac’s family fled the invading army, but a brutal occupation force eventually took control of the east and threw Isaac into prison for his human rights activism. After bribing his way out of jail, Isaac escaped Congo to reunite with his wife and 10 children in Kenya. He got work as an interpreter on an investigation into corruption in the UN, only to be threatened again by his involvement in the case and by spies working for Congolese rebel forces. With no future in Kenya and unable to return home, Isaac applied for and eventually received a humanitarian visa to Australia. … This is the inspiring and true story of one man’s transformation from hunter-gatherer to prosperous businessman to Australian resident, and advocate for the rights of his people’s identity. It is the first memoir by a Pygmy author ever published.

*Note: “witchcraft rituals” means “human sacrifice.” Also, cannibalism.

Anyone read it? I’m going to see if the library has it.


Anyway, thanks for reading, everyone. Here’s to the next 330 posts!

7 thoughts on “Happy 330 Posts (Open Thread)

  1. Congrats on 330 posts. Haven’t read the book but Bacirongo was interviewed by John Safran on his radio show. Recently read “This is London: Life and Death in the World City” by Ben Judah which I found interesting as it is about immigration in London and is in a sense about London as a non-English city.

    Interview starts 41:00 minutes in

    An extract of “This is London”:


  2. Happy 330 posts! It’s always a fun blog to read.

    Writing something tonight about dragons, or I’d post more.

    I think my favorite book depends a lot on the time or who I am at that moment.


  3. So, I’ve posted here a few times. Sometimes over the years I’ve contemplated starting my own blog. The problem, besides being disciplined enough to write regularly when one isn’t paid to ignore distractions (even when one is…) is that if one has some real expertise, there are only so many people in the world with similar expertise, and many of them know each other, so eventually, if one isn’t already using one’s real name, it will be fairly obvious if any personal details have been mentioned, assuming someone gets it into their head to do some sleuthing, and, of course, even then it’s only an issue if someone has bad intentions. Of course, from personal experience, there’s the simple fact that most people aren’t interested in people outside famous people and their immediate social circle. I suppose the problem comes from the web tricking some people’s brains into thinking a person is either famous when they aren’t really (just in, say, the realm of a specific web forum) or that they’re a close friend when they aren’t. (Heck, even with real life, these can be a problem, or at least the latter…) I have people who still email me (though it’s rarer now) about webpages I wrote 20 years ago, and while that can be a little annoying, nobody seems to have gotten creepy about it… (The closest I ever got to a creepy web stalker was someone who kept wanting me to change a B to an A, so motivation has to be there…).

    As far as favorite book, that’s definitely something that changes with time for me, and I’ll usually read as much as I can by an author til I get sufficiently distracted or finished. I’ve read Jane Austen’s works several times over. Read through a good chunk of both Asimov and Orson Scott Card when I was in college. Before that, I did try to read outside of what was assigned. Ended up read Thomas Hardy until I got too depressed by it. Read all of Anne of Green Gables in middle school. Read all the Narnia books in elementary school, then read the space trilogy in high school, and then reread the Narnia books as an adult. Still not Christian (never have been by any definition beyond “celebrate Christmas and Easter”), but I enjoy them. This reminds me that I’ve also read most of the Tolkien works, including the Silmarillion, though I’m not obsessed enough to learn Elvish, and in fact I saw the movies first. I read the Harry Potter books before I saw the movies, but I’m not that interested any more. Back to when I was actually young, I’ve read nearly everything written by Beverly Cleary prior to 1989. Including the teen novels. Oh, and when I was a few years older I read both the sci-fi and non-sci-fi Madeline L’Engle books. I’ve never done a book club. Not sure I’d like it.


    • Hello!
      I was in a book club, but I got kicked out for hating the books. : /

      You’re right that long-term anonymity is hard to preserve. A distinctive writing style may “out” you, too. I wonder if just throwing in the occasional detailed lie about one’s real life, like claiming to be an accountant from Ohio when you’re actually a biologist from CA, might be enough to throw people off the track.

      Keeping up a regular posting schedule is definitely hard. Having a personal daily writing goal has worked so far for me (without self-discipline, nothing gets done :P) but I don’t think there’s anything better about daily vs. weekly or monthly or somewhere in between.

      Alternatively, if you just feel a few posts itching to get out, I bet a lot of bloggers would welcome a few guest posts. :)

      Have a lovely day.


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